The Challenge(s)

Boy is it hot. Have I said that already? Worse than Texas in July…2-3 showers a day, several changes of clothes, and a healthy respect for the hydration need.

We have been the traveling seminar. We started out in the village, in the main training hall, sharing the space with a large boxing ring. The international competition was down the road at the stadium, but for reasons unknown, after one half day, the competition moved to the village school and we lost our space. The boxing ring moved to the school courtyard for the free fighting matches. The women’s form competition took over the main hall, and the men were outside. We briefly met in another classroom, but the Grandmaster requested that we return to the hotel to try an air conditioned room in the complex. We tried. It was hotter than the village, even with the AC blasting. Thirty five people plus a few interlopers generate quite a bit of heat when doing taiji. So we voted to return to the village today.

This morning, our students Richard Griffith and Peter Houser competed in the Laojia Yilu portion of the international competition (for men over 40), along with Nicolas Chung, a fellow taiji practitioner from the Bay Area. All did very well, with scores ranging from 8.59 to 8.76. We were proud. After they competed, we joined the seminar back in the upstairs classroom, where we will be for the duration.

There have been other small challenges outside of the taiji competition. I lost my phone for several hours last night, and found it only thanks to Jan for convincing the bus driver to drive back to the hotel at 9pm to let me into the bus to search for it, and to Bill for finding it under a seat cover. The toilets have been hit and miss, ours stopped working, they fixed it, now someone else is having the same issue. The food is so-so, and you have to be expert at push hands to get enough to eat. The heat is very challenging for me. I am somewhat yin deficient so am not prone to sweating, and here, I’m sweating buckets.

Looking forward now to the rest of our time here – we have 2 more full days. We will mix the competition with the seminar, breaking now and then to see some of the performances.. Tonight we will watch some free fighting. The only rules are no blows to the crotch or head. Otherwise anything goes. Should be interesting to see how it relates to taiji  A few people from our group will take a trip to Shaolin Temple, we will tour the museum here, and Wednesday we will head to Louyong, then Louguantai. That will be a completely different experience, one that I’m very much anticipating.